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The Secret Garden (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Family | 22 July 1949 (Brazil)
A girl is sent to live with her uncle on his estate when her parents die. There she discovers much intrigue, family history and secrets and personal baggage. In particular, a screaming child and...a secret garden.

Director:

Fred M. Wilcox

Writers:

Robert Ardrey (screenplay), Frances Hodgson Burnett (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margaret O'Brien ... Mary Lennox
Herbert Marshall ... Archibald Craven
Dean Stockwell ... Colin Craven
Gladys Cooper ... Mrs. Medlock
Elsa Lanchester ... Martha
Brian Roper ... Dickon
Reginald Owen ... Ben Weatherstaff
Aubrey Mather ... Dr. Griddlestone
George Zucco ... Dr. Fortescue
Lowell Gilmore ... British Officer
Billy Bevan ... Barney
Dennis Hoey ... Mr. Pitcher
Matthew Boulton ... Mr. Bromley (as Mathew Boulton)
Isobel Elsom ... Governess
Norma Varden ... Nurse
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Storyline

When cholera takes the parents of Mary Lennox, she is shipped from India to England to live with her Uncle Craven. Archibald Craven's house is dark and drafty, with over 100 rooms built on the edge of the moors. Mary finds that her Uncle does not wish to see her, which is fine with Mary as she herself is rude and spoiled. While walking the gardens the next day, Mary notices that there is a area in the garden surrounded with a high stone wall and no doorway. Dickon, brother of a housemaid, tells her of the garden behind the wall. By the path, the raven unearths the hidden key so that Mary and Dickon are able to enter the walled garden to find it overgrown and neglected. Inside the house, she finds that Archibald has a son named Colin, who is crippled and as spoiled as she. Together these three work to make the secret garden their own world. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Family

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 July 1949 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

El jardín secreto See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though a noteworthy MGM adaptation of the acclaimed 1909 childhood tale by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this film, complete with three Technicolor sequences, failed to garner a contemporary New York Times review. See more »

Goofs

Elspeth Dudgeon who played Susan Sowerby was 78 years old, she would therefore have been well into her 60's when she gave birth to Dickon. See more »

Quotes

Colin Craven: You don't even care how I won't live to grow up.
Mary Lennox: Stop it. You'll live as long as I will. You just say that to make people feel sorry for you and do what you say.
Colin Craven: Don't you dare say that! Don't you dare say how I won't die!
Mary Lennox: Why, you're proud of it. It makes you feel important.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Secret Garden (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Hindoo Song of Love
Written by Lal Chand Mehra
Performed by Margaret O'Brien with singing voice provided by Marni Nixon.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Forgotten Classic
9 April 2001 | by abooboo-2See all my reviews

Going in I was not familiar with the enormously popular children's book upon which it was based, but I have to believe the folks behind this version did a wonderful job condensing the material and preserving all the elements which helped make the book such a success. It's even a little hard to believe it was derived from a book targeted at children as the film deals with some fairly mature subject matter and has rather an adult, realistic edge. It's very impressive, certainly a meticulously crafted, heartfelt production that builds nicely to a moving conclusion. (Plus, the scenes shot in color are breathtaking.) The very visual director, Fred Wilcox, is remarkably adept at establishing mood and atmosphere through the ominous use of sets and lighting. Margaret O'Brien (repeatedly and inaccurately told in the movie how unattractive she is) who was soon to kiss childhood and stardom goodbye, is given a great part to play and is extremely appealing. (As is a very young Dean Stockwell, playing a difficult character who all too easily could've been unsympathetic.)

Also, I have to quarrel with the other post, where someone asserts that the movie is badly dated. Quite the contrary, the story zips along at a refreshingly swift pace and never lags. The movie should hardly be faulted (and in fact should be commended) for not having flashy MTV style edits every five seconds or a bombastic score. It's a very rewarding experience for both children and adults alike.


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